5 Delightful Ways to Strengthen Your Core

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No, this is not about Pilates. I like Pilates, I really like the idea of doing Pilates. But this post is about your inner core: Being authentically confident from the inside out. It’s a process, not a technique.

These are practices and habits I use to stay strong. By “strong,” I mean I don’t let things bother me. Like students who are upset with their grade. I understand they’re not unhappy, but that doesn’t make me unhappy.  Or dealing with a super late reimbursement owed me; I would prefer that it be in my bank account already, but I’m fine without it These sorts of things used to throw me off and were often used as proofs that the world was indeed, not on my side.

1. List your intentions. These are similar to goals, but intentions can be less precise. Goals, by definitions are measurable and have deadlines. Intentions can be pointing in a direction. For example, I intend to feel relaxed all day.

You can have big intentions like owning a self-supporting business. Small intentions can be connecting to people in a meeting, even if the purpose of the meeting is something else.

2. List the things you secretly love or enjoy. I know you enjoy pedicures, but do you enjoy hot sauce on your pizza? I do. What are the tacky things you really like, even if you’re not supposed to? Things like reading tabloids, enjoying bubble gum,  McDonald’s french fries, Smarties, NASCAR, flavored lip balm…the stuff that educated people are not supposed to be into.

3. Give yourself a break. Give your inner critic a short vacation. Don’t try to be all you can be for a day or so. Just be. When you show up at your office without keys on a Sunday, take it lightly and do something different.

4. Be bodacious in a small way. Surprise yourself. Surprise your kids, your neighbors and do something totally out of character. Sometimes I do this by singing, but usually my kids ask me to stop. Now. I’ve skipped at the beach, talked to people on park benches, worn a fake tattoo.

5. Laugh more often. Make it a point to laugh. Sometimes it won’t work out like you thought. I rented two audio books that were supposed to be funny.

One, by a British author, told of such a pathetic life and sense of self that I could only bear to listen to a couple of tracks. When she started talking about her husband and his toilet habits, I stopped pronto. The other audio book was a political commentary, not that funny but it gave me some good examples of rhetorical fallacies for my speech students. Made my job easier.

Children and pets are good for laughter. Put the friends who make  you laugh on the A list.

5. If you’re not that crazy about it, say “no.” This advice alone is totally worth the price of this blog. I got it from Christine Kane, who heard it from Cheryl Richardson. My daughters and I use that criteria for shopping all the time. Buy less, do less, have less, enjoy more.

There are other habits as well, but these are a good start. Write them down in your journal to remind yourself.

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